Pathways towards chronic-care focused healthcare systems: the case of Spain

Manuel García-Goñi, Cristina Hernández-Quevedo, Roberto Nuño-Solinís, Francesco Paolucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing healthcare expenditure is a matter of concern in many countries, particularly in relation to the underlying drivers of such escalation that include ageing, medical innovation, and changes in the burden of disease, such as the growing prevalence of chronic diseases. Most healthcare systems in developed countries have been designed to ‘cure’ acute episodes, rather than to ‘manage’ chronic conditions, and therefore they are not suitably or efficiently organized to respond to the changing needs and preferences of users. New models of chronic care provision have been developed to respond to the changing burden of disease and there is already considerable practical experience in several different countries showing their advantages but also the difficulties associated with their implementation. In this paper, we focus on the Spanish experience in terms of policy changes and pilot studies focused on testing the feasibility of moving towards chronic care models. In particular, we discuss a framework that identifies and analyses ten key prerequisites to achieving high performing chronic care-based healthcare systems and apply it to the current Spanish National Health System (NHS). We find that the design of the Spanish NHS already meets some of these pre-requisites. However, other features are still in their early stages of development or are being applied only in limited geographical and clinical contexts. We outline the policies that are being implemented and the pathway that the Spanish NHS is taking to address the crucial challenge of the transition towards an optimal health system focused on chronic care. Given the current evidence and trends, we expect that the pathway for developing a chronicity strategy being followed by the Spanish NHS will significantly transform its current healthcare delivery model in the next few years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-245
Number of pages28
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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